Getting a headache can ruin your entire day and cause you to rearrange your schedule to maximize your amount of rest and pain relief. If you get frequent headaches and migraines, you’re likely calling out of work often, canceling plans, and spending most of your free time feeling miserable in bed. This is not helping you live your life to the fullest. Fortunately, by pinpointing the cause of your headaches, you can find the correct treatment to bring you long-term relief. Explore some of the top causes of frequent headaches and learn how our dentist in St. Augustine, FL can help.

woman in yellow turtle neck suffering from headache

1. Stress

When you’re feeling stressed out, it’s a natural response from your body to go into fight or flight mode. As a result, you can develop what is known as a tension headache. Tension headaches are caused by tightened muscles in the back of your scalp and neck. If you’re finding that you get headaches often when you’re stressed out, you need to find a way to eliminate some of the stress in your life. Learning to relieve and control your stress will help you live headache and pain-free.

2. Alcohol

Another common cause of frequent headaches is from drinking alcohol. Even just a few ounces of red wine can provoke a headache for some people. It’s even worse if you drink alcohol excessively because you become dehydrated. Try to stop drinking for a few weeks to see if your condition improves.

3. Diet

Your diet can also play a huge role in recurring headaches. There are certain types of foods that are known to cause headaches that you should watch for in your diet. Some of these foods include:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Foods containing MSG
  • Cured meats
  • Aged cheeses
  • Pickled and fermented foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Salty foods

4. Environment

It’s also common to experience headaches and migraines when there are changes in your environment. Environmental changes like drastic changes in weather, temperature, and air pressure can cause a headache or migraine. Try to keep a headache log as well as a weather log to see if changes in weather are the initial cause of your headaches and migraines.

You can also get headaches and migraines by drastically changing your elevation level. Headaches at a high elevation might indicate that you have elevation sickness. For best results, try to gradually increase your elevation or give yourself an extra day or two to adjust to the new elevation before you do any physical activities. 

5. Sleep Deprivation

Another major cause of frequent headaches and migraines is sleep deprivation. Although doctors aren’t sure why sleep deprivation causes a headache, it’s fairly common. If you notice that you experience a headache whenever you don’t sleep enough, that’s a good indicator that you should sleep more. If you don’t sleep well, take a nap or go to bed earlier to ensure you get the right amount of zzz’s.

6. Hormones

Hormonal changes are also a common cause of frequent headaches and migraines. These types of headaches are most common with women during certain times of their menstrual cycle, during menopause, and if they’re taking hormones including some types of birth controls. Birth control that contains estrogen is most commonly linked with migraine and headache side effects. Talk to your doctor if you believe your headaches are linked to changes in your hormones.

7. Caffeine Withdrawal

If you drink a caffeinated beverage daily and then decide to skip a day, your abrupt stop to caffeine can trigger a migraine. This is because when you drink caffeine, it causes your blood vessels to constrict. Without caffeine, your blood vessels widen with every beat of your heart. This is why caffeine headaches feel so throbbing.

8. Dehydration

When you don’t drink enough water and you become dehydrated, it actually causes your brain to shrink up. This leaves a decent space between your skull and brain which causes the pain. After you rehydrate, your brain will swell back up and your pain will go away.

9. Eye Strain

When you stare at a screen or a book too long, it can cause a headache from straining your eyes too much. Try the 20-20-20 rule where you look away from your screen or book every 20 minutes for 20 seconds by focusing on something at least 20 feet away from you. Eye strain might also indicate that you’re squinting because you need to wear glasses. You might also need to adjust your lighting, blue light settings, or use some eye drops.

10. TMJ

The last most common cause of frequent headaches and migraines is TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder occurs when there is an imbalance of your jaw joints. The imbalance causes your jaws to try and correct themselves which can cause muscle strain. People who suffer from TMJ might also experience jaw pain, clicking and popping in their jaw, tinnitus, dizziness, neck and back pain, and clenching and grinding of their teeth.

If you suffer from TMJ, you will need to visit a TMJ dentist in St. Augustine like Dr. Kinsey. Dr. Kinsey will evaluate your jaw joints, bite, and more to determine if you have TMJ and to create your treatment plan. 

Contact our dental office at (904) 474-5444 today to learn if TMJ is the cause of your headaches and to learn more about your headache treatment options. With the right treatment plan, you can say goodbye to frequent headaches for the rest of your life!